Looks like the Ultimates may finally have a plan to wipe out Reed Richards’ “City”, but it doesn’t look like Captain America will be part of that plan.
Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #6
Nick Fury visits with Steve Rogers in the New Mexico desert hoping to convince America’s Super Soldier to come out against the swelling government desire to go to war, but Cap, always the patriot, declines saying he would be a traitor to oppose the president’s desire to strike against an obvious foe. Meanwhile, Tony Stark is in Paris to oppose the Kratos Club, a group of the super rich (think of them like the 1% of the top 1% for all you attuned to current events) about what he sees as an orchestrated attempt to throw the world economy in chaos so they can buy up the world. In England, Jamie Braddock is visiting his dying brother Brian and confronts his father about the condition he’s put Brian in. Sam Wilson is discovered by Reed Richards inside the City and is allowed a free pass to come and go as he pleases with the hopes that Sam will convince the outside world that the City is the way of the future and resistance would be otherwise futile. Back at Ultimates HQ, Hawkeye has come up with a plan to assemble a team from Southeast Asia’s The People to combat the City.
Once upon a time, some ten years ago, it was really sexy to read The Ultimates. Those early stories by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch were literally as close as fans could get to ever seeing the Avengers on a level that could be called cinematic. Sure, the Ultimates had their share of ups and downs, as did the entire Ultimate Marvel Universe, but those early stories were almost bigger than life. They were the Summer movie blockbuster, popcorn selling, action packed series that didn’t require all those decades of history or continuity to simply work on baser, and even higher, levels. These sunshine heroes existed in a world that was realistic, gritty, and downright dark. Even some of the not-so-great stories of their history worked.
My how far we’ve come.
When Jonathan Hickman took over the relaunch that was a big part of Marvel’s plan to inject new life into this struggling universe, fans were understandably excited. Hickman was a guy who could tell these incredibly deep stories like his S.H.I.E.L.D. series that posited the idea that the organization had been around for centuries. He jump started the Fantastic Four franchise by being able to tell good enough stories to support TWO FF related monthly series. Really, after Millar and Jeph Loeb (who also wrote a couple Ultimates stories for better or worse) had mercifully run their course with this franchise, Hickman was a welcome addition and we were legitimately excited to see what he’d bring to the table.
After a pretty lackluster Hawkeye mini-series (that I might add finally fits into this main title so much better), and six up and down issues of The Ultimates, the appeal of the series is lackluster at best. There are still good things to take from this issue, but there are so many things that are going on that we have to wonder what exactly it means in the grand scheme of things. In fact, while the first two volumes of the Ultimates were a whopping 13 issues each, with each volume telling a larger story, there was a cohesiveness that seemed to tie everything together. These six issues haven’t felt the same way. There seems to be so much happening with so many characters that the plot progression is suffering. I don’t understand how Jaime Braddock fits into the Ultimates. I don’t know why this Spider-Woman character is out and about. I could hardly remember that Tony Stark was in the middle of the South American nuclear catastrophe in the first issue which, now, five issues later, is finally starting to make sense as to why it happened. This feels like years of density of plot that’s only played out over six months. It’s an awful lot to swallow and it’s almost entirely unapproachable for anyone outside the fans of the Ultimates as a whole to come onto.
I’m not going to play the “there’s no action card” here. I get the deeper meaning of slower pacing, but this thing is moving like a slug that accidentally walked across a horse’s salt lick. It’s gotten to a point that I’ve decided that I’m not too stupid to understand the story because I don’t really care anymore. I’m so apathetic about the plot and so frustrated with Nick Fury’s more underhanded way about things that maybe Captain America’s right… It’s best to not get involved. Hell, I’m almost rooting for Reed Richards. Maybe turning to science is a better way to approach a certain level of peace and prosperity. All I know is the excitement for what was to come six months ago has nearly all but vanished from my mind. There may still be a chance to turn this around, but Hickman’s got a hell of a lot of work to do to do so.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|It’s nice to see that not everything that happened in the Hawkeye mini has been forgettable and it might play toward a positive end to an otherwise lackluster story. Art by Brandon Peterson and Esad Ribic is as strong as always.||Becoming increasingly difficult to follow, or care, about the events unfolding or the characters involved. The hope of a solid writer bringing back a solid plot in an Ultimates story has been pretty much lost.|
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